(A note from your friady cat sponsor: me! Been a little under the weather the last 2 days and have decided to re-post the courageous story of Jane. My readership has grown exponentially since early June, so I hope the material will be new to many of you! See you in a couple of days when I've managed to outrun this migraine.)
She'd been sick for a couple of weeks but thought she'd eventually outrun the bug. She was wrong. She was turning purple by the time she got to the doctor's office. Pneumonia had attacked her system and grown stronger. She had developed sepsis. An ambulance took her from there to the hospital where she went directly to ICU. The dreams that followed were chaotic and unsettling. Others would remember the days and nights that had elapsed. She had only those dreams to fill the void. She didn't know about the all night prayer vigils or the respirator that regulated her breathing. The chaotic routine of family and friends were details of which she would only much later become aware.
It was 2002 when she arrived in ICU. By the time she would be discharged from rehab 4 months later, it was 2003. As she returned to consciousness, the world seemed too loud. It was confusing to have people she didn't know require things of her. More confusing given that she had no idea for a time how she had ended up where she was. She later learned that only 5% of patients as sick as she was survive. When she was well enough to leave ICU, a fearsome decision awaited her and her family. Her fingers and feet were black. They had a few days to decide if treatment would save them or if gangrene would spread.
In the end, there was really no choice. This middle aged mother of 16-year-old twins had spent her life as a musician and educator. She would awaken from surgery with a new normal that was unfamiliar and overwhelming. Her world would never be the same. When she awoke, 9 of her piano and organ playing fingers were gone--along with her music. The amputation of her lower limbs began at her calves. Her feet were gone. A cardiovascular surgeon visited her room. In a deliberate and methodical way, he told her that she would never walk again. He might as well have stamped a huge, red "THE END" sign across her future.
As a recovering fraidy cat, I cannot wrap my mind around Jane's story. I'm sure God has a sense of irony because, you see, 15 months ago, my own husband was hospitalized with sepsis. I watched his monitors without blinking for the 1st sign that his blood pressure was going to bottom out. There are 3 signs for septic shock at which point organs can begin to fail. He had 2. He recovered and was back at work 7 days after his 4.5 day hospital stay. So, as Jane told me her story, my emotions ran the gamut from ecstatic relief to profound confusion. While I was relieved and humbled that our close brush with tragedy had not been more life altering, my heart also cried out, "Why Jane and not Jeff?"
As our 30" interview became an hour and then almost 2, I found we had another thing in common. We had the same inner fraidy cat. Even before she was sick, Jane had wondered if God really loved her. Was he her loving Heavenly Father? If so, where was her place in his Heavenly lap? She had never felt able to do enough to please him.
She was quiet for a few minutes after sharing that fraidy cat truth. When she spoke again, she mused over the days of recovery and the questions she had for God. She noted that she was too busy during the very early days to think much about God's plans for her. Various rehab therapies consumed her days and thoughts. Friends, however, often encouraged her with, "Think of the ministry you are going to have!" At the time, all she wanted to do was get well. The future was confined by the arduous work ahead to recover.
Many times she has since cried out to him, "What are you doing to me?" Jane would find at least one answer to the questions echoing in her soul at the foot of a tree on a hot and windy day.
I hope you'll come back tomorrow and bring a friend. Maybe 2? Jane has some things to teach us about taking "The End" as an answer.
For more information about sepsis, click here. .
To see the information from the 7/26/11 episode of Rachel Ray's show, click here.